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Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Hummer Us!Posted Friday, August 17, 2012, at 8:22 AM
I chose hummers as my first blog because I think of all of the songbirds, people are most fascinated by these small "jewels". In our area you most likely will be seeing the ruby-throated hummingbird. This bird is so named because the male has a brilliant red patch on his throat. The female looks exactly the same minus the patch.
I want to address some of the most common questions people have about hummers. First, these birds do have legs! I have addressed this issue many times. Trust me, setting a fractured leg on a hummingbird is one of the most tedious things I have ever done.
Feeders must contain red water. Not! The color red attracts hummers, but most feeders have red coloration. The "red" food is not healthy for the birds. The most natural food we can provide is sugar water. The formula is 1 part sugar and 4 parts water, brought to a gentle boil and cooled. This is the closest to flower nectar that we can provide. Make lots of it and keep it in the frig - the birds love cool water during the hot summer days. When it's hot outside, change the water daily. Would you want to drink fermented sugar water?
A hummingbird's diet is primarily made up of small insects. But, nectar and sugar water are very important because of the energy they provide.
The hummers you see now are the ones which breed and nest in this area. These birds are here from July until October. Birds seen outside that time frame are migrating through here either to or from more northern places on their way back to South America.
When it's time to migrate, leaving your feeder out will not keep them here! Migration is a natural instinct and mere food will not keep them from their goal. Hang your feeders out from April through October. This is really important this year because of the drought across the country.
Enjoy your birds! That's the reason God made them for!
I am happy to answer any questions and would love to read about some of your hummer experiences.
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Vicky Carder is a Shelbyville native. In 1991 she founded Walden's Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Nashville. There she served as Executive Director for more than 12 years. The Center is the largest wildlife hospital in Middle Tennessee. She has published in wildlife national and international journals. Now she wants to share her knowledge of native wildlife and some of the experiences she had while working with wildlife.